Premilla Nadasen

Premilla Nadasen

Premilla Nadasen is an associate professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia University. She researches and writes about race, gender, social policy, and labor history. She is the author of several books, including Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States (2005), which chronicles the emergence of a distinctive brand of feminism forged by black women on welfare, and Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement (2015), a history of domestic worker activism in the postwar period. She has won fellowships and honors for her work, including the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Book Prize, the Sara Whaley Book Prize, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Article Prize. In addition to her academic writing Nadasen has been engaged with social justice work for many years, including antiapartheid and antiracist activism, labor rights, feminism, immigrant rights, and low-income women's advocacy. For the past ten years she has worked closely with the domestic workers' rights movement. Nadasen bridges her scholarship and activism, striving to make her research accessible and relevant. She has written policy briefs; has served as an expert academic witness; has written for newspapers, blogs, and magazines, including Ms., the Root, Al Jazeera, and Jacobin; and has spoken on issues of labor and poverty on college campuses and to community and activist groups. She is most interested in visions of social change and the ways poor and working-class people, especially women of color, have fought for social justice.

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Twitter: @premillanadasen.


  • Building an Intersectional Feminist Agenda in the 21st Century
  • Grass-Roots Organizing and Progressive Social Change: Lessons from History *
  • Where Do We Go from Here? Poverty, the Welfare State, and Economic Justice *
  • Women and Feminism in the Trump Era *
  • Historical Memory, Storytelling, and Domestic Worker Organizing
  • Black Feminism and the Struggle for Welfare Rights: Rethinking the Women's Movement
  • Neoliberalism, Domestic Work, and New Models of Labor Organizing
  • From Widow to Welfare Queen: Race and the Transformation of Economic Support for Poor Women
  • Bridging Scholarship and Activism and Forging an Agenda for Social Justice

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.